Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Drink Seven - Violet Champagne d'Amour

The Olympics are over.  Aside from the hockey game yesterday afternoon, I haven't paid too much attention to the Games in the last few days.  Figure skating doesn't do it for me.  When NBC turns to figure skating in prime time, it usually means that the other sports that I do care about have all ended.

In 4 years, the next winter games will be in Sochi, Russia.  Apparently, Sochi is a city more known for its beaches than its mountains.  It will be interesting to see Russia prepare for the games, since it is likely to be the warmest climate for the winter Olympics in the modern era.

Out with the Olympics, and in with random drinks...

Let's start with two numbers: 167 and 2.

What do these numbers have in common?

They are how we arrive at making the Violet Champagne d'Amour!

You see, I went ahead used this fine website random.org, putting in the pages between which The Ultimate Bar Book features its drinks (pages 92-407).  The first number represents the page number I have to use to find the next drink.  If a drink doesn't appear on the page, I have to try again until I reach a page with cocktails.

The second number is simply a number 1-4, also generated from the random.org website - to choose which drink listed on the page to use.  There are rarely if ever more than 4 drinks on any given page, so we're going to have no problem with a 5th drink going under the radar.

So what is this Violet Champagne d'Amour?  Without knowing a thing about it, I'd say that it's safe to assume that champagne is involved, as is love.  But, you ask, don't you put love into every drink that you make?  I do, I do. 

The Violet Champagne d'Amour might require additional love.  Either the Violet Champagne d'Amour is a stage 5 clinger (bad), or, it envelopes the drinker in love (good). Let's find out!


Recipe
The Ultimate Bar Book, page 167

1 ounce Parfait Amour
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/4 ounce Cointreau
3 to 5 ounces chilled champagne
2 fresh violets

Pour all liquid ingredients but the champagne into a chilled champagne flute.  Slowly top with champagne.  Float the violets on top of the drink.


Wait a second. Did I see the word "violets" listed among the ingredients?  [looks again]  You have to be kidding me!  Who has violets readily available, as a drink garnish?!  No one!  No one does!  Florists don't have violets for garnishing drinks!  I talked to a florist just now, who said, and I quote "If you're using violets as a drink garnish, you sir, are an asshole."  A florist said that!*  You know that if the florists are against it, we all must be against it.

As a result of this very situation, I'm creating a NEW RULE for this website: A drink should never be avoided as a result of little-to-no garnish availability.

Garnishes often do not affect the flavor of the drink, and ultimately that's what we're interested in - the flavor of the drink.  Also, some garnishes are more important than others.  Throwing a lemon twist in the drink might change the flavor, whereas an inedible flower is simply meant to look good on the glass.

So, as a result - NO VIOLETS FOR THIS DRINK!  Done and done.

This drink also required another trip to the liquor store, because surprise surprise, I didn't have any Parfait Amour on hand - I just ran out, like, yesterday, as luck would have it. 

While at the store, I bought the following:

Parfait Amour - $25
Cointreau - $30
G'vine Gin - $33

I know what you're saying, gin is not a component of the Violet Champagne d'Amour.  True.  However, my local liquor store has been out of this particular gin bottling for some time, and only recently got a new shipment.  I had to buy it.
G'vine is outstanding gin.  It is made from Ugni Blanc grapes in Cognac, France.  In other words, gin purists probably hate this stuff!  It is excellent though, and smooth as hell.  If you happen upon a bottle, buy two of them - it's availability is always suspect.

Moving on!

Where the Jack Rose failed, the Violet Champagne d'Amour succeeds.  This is a sweet, but complex drink.  The lemon juice is probably the most prominent flavor first tasted, but it quickly gives way to the parfait amour, which has an almost velvety texture and taste.  It is a tart on the one hand, but smooth on the other.  Each sip seems to have its own essence.


The Asti adds some additional sweetness, to be sure.  A dryer sparkling wine, like a brut, may change the drink for the better.  However, the sweetness of this version of the Violet Champagne d'Amour is not overwhelming.  I drank it before dinner, and it was a perfect aperitif.  And the picture above doesn't quite do its color justice - it's purple, because of the Parfait Amour.  How often do you get to drink something that's purple in color, and not revolting?  Never! 

I know that most of you will have no reason to purchase Parfait Amour, but if you're interested in expanding your drink selection, this particular cocktail is a solid addition.  You'll probably have some Cointreau or Grand Marnier lying around, and even a bottle of champagne that you've been meaning to open.  All told, it's an excellent drink.

One last note:  I added one step to the recipe above, because I didn't want to drink a room temperature cocktail, it just didn't seem fitting.  So what I did was shake all of the contents, apart from the Asti, in a cocktail shaker, straining it into the champagne flute before topping it off with the sparkling wine.  It was chilled, and refreshing.  If you choose not to do this, I think the result will still be good, but it will be room temperature, or maybe slightly cooled if you're using a chilled champagne flute and chilled champagne. 


*no florists were harmed in the creation of this post (or spoken with, for that matter)

14 comments:

Tara on March 4, 2010 at 4:42 PM said...

Never trust a florist. Jerks.

Anonymous said...

I am not drinking anything purple, except Zima with grape jolly ranchers.

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